Evidence accumulation in a Laplace domain decision space
Howard, Marc W.
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Citation (published version)Marc W Howard, Andre Luzardo, Zoran Tiganj. 2018. "Evidence accumulation in a Laplace domain decision space." Computational Brain & Behavior, Volume 1, pp. 237 - 251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42113-018-0016-2
Evidence accumulation models of simple decision-making have long assumed that the brain estimates a scalar decision variable corresponding to the log likelihood ratio of the two alternatives. Typical neural implementations of this algorithmic cognitive model assume that large numbers of neurons are each noisy exemplars of the scalar decision variable. Here, we propose a neural implementation of the diffusion model in which many neurons construct and maintain the Laplace transform of the distance to each of the decision bounds. As in classic findings from brain regions including LIP, the firing rate of neurons coding for the Laplace transform of net accumulated evidence grows to a bound during random dot motion tasks. However, rather than noisy exemplars of a single mean value, this approach makes the novel prediction that firing rates grow to the bound exponentially; across neurons, there should be a distribution of different rates. A second set of neurons records an approximate inversion of the Laplace transform; these neurons directly estimate net accumulated evidence. In analogy to time cells and place cells observed in the hippocampus and other brain regions, the neurons in this second set have receptive fields along a “decision axis.” This finding is consistent with recent findings from rodent recordings. This theoretical approach places simple evidence accumulation models in the same mathematical language as recent proposals for representing time and space in cognitive models for memory.